The week in security: Secure computing proves less so

The need to embrace change – securely – is climbing the agendas of CISOs in a climate of rapid organisational transformation. Lawyers add even more challenges, some say, as do evolving cloud-security standards.

Speaking of standards, Apple was proposing a new standard to help fix issues with its Bonjour zero configuration networking technology, which is creating headaches on university campus networks.

The bad news for Android security continued, with a study finding that 25 percent of Android apps represented a security risk – and a questionable security gift for the upcoming holiday season, given their tendency to attract nasties and leak personal information. Symantec warned that around 200 Android applications create spoofed SMS messages to trick users into certain behaviours.

Ironically, a Google researcher was warning about the security of Sophos security suite and recommending it be kept away from high-value systems. But Google wasn't the only one: Cisco Systems, which includes the Sophos antivirus engine in its IronPort email and Web security appliances, was warning customers about Sophos vulnerabilities too.

Research In Motion announced the world's first completely hack-proof mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10, had gained FIPS-grade security certification. (It's not actually hack-proof, but since it doesn't ship until the end of January it might as well be since nobody is actually using it).

Hacking group Anonymous went on a hacking spree of A-list Web sites, although it was unable to take down Facebook and Zynga as it had threatened. It wasn't exactly the 'Cyber Pearl Harbor' that authorities had warned about, but there were warnings that vendors like Siemens – whose software was the target of the nasty Stuxnet malware – are still not up to scratch when it comes to security.

Security in major systems remains a significant issue, with big-data advocates warning that it's important to secure platforms like Hadoop before the concentration of data causes problems. Ditto mobile-accessible cloud solutions like Dropbox, which was secured by a new Symantec tool.

There was a flurry of browser updates as Google shipped Chrome 23, which includes Do Not Track support. Even the game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 got sprung for a security vulnerability. Windows 8 had its first big Patch Tuesday, while a new exploit was discovered to bypass the security protections of new sandboxed versions of Adobe Reader, installing financial malware that echoes the ongoing spate of e-banking thefts.

Blacklisted networking vendor Huawei attempted to put the shoe on the other foot, saying it could actually help keep the US safe from cyberthreats. China was also in the news as some wondered whether a large-scale Twitter password reset had stemmed from a censorship crackdown in China. China was also blamed – or, to be correct, its hackers were – as it was revealed Coca-Cola's systems had suffered an undisclosed industrial-espionage hack years ago. Indeed, the threat from external parties remains real – and highly top-heavy, if a Symantec assessment suggesting there are only 16 crime gangs behind the majority of ransomware outbreaks is correct.

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